Your questions answered about second coronavirus lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new lockdown for England to tackle the spread of coronavirus. It will start at 12.01am on November 5 and end on December 2. Here we answer some of your questions about the second shutdown.
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From November 5, what can I leave home for?

Between November 5 and December 2, you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

- for childcare or education, where this is not provided online. Schools, colleges and universities can remain open

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government needed to act now to save lives. Picture by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government needed to act now to save lives. Picture by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government needed to act now to save lives. Picture by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

- for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home – including if your job involves working in other people’s homes

- to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with one person from another household

- for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm such as domestic abuse

- shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible

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- to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer

This list is not exhaustive and there are other limited circumstances where you may be permitted to leave or be outside of your home. These will be set out in law and further detailed guidance will be provided by the Government.

When I do leave my home, how can I stay safe?

You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble. Remember:

- hands: wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds

- face: wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

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- space: where possible, stay two metres apart from people you do not live with or one metre with extra precautions in place – such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors

What are the rules around meeting friends and family?

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household – meaning the people you live with – or support bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight and visit outdoor public places together.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble or one person from another household.

Outdoor public places include:

- parks, beaches, countryside

- public gardens, allotments

- playgrounds

You cannot meet in a private garden.

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What is the Government’s advice about going to work?

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so – for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers, according to the Government.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work. A Government spokesperson said: “The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if Covid-secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.”

What places will be forced to close?

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

- all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to, clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops

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- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks

- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens

- personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture and tanning salons.

What places will be allowed to stay open?

A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law but at the moment we know that food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow Covid-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

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Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Playgrounds can remain open.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender and those who have suffered bereavement.

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A number of public services will also stay open and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

- the NHS and medical services like GPs. The Government is supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help

- Jobcentre Plus sites

- courts

- civil registrations offices

Is the furlough scheme being extended?

Yes, until December. Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500 a month through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

What is 'essential travel’?

You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.

Essential travel includes, but is not limited to:

- essential shopping

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- travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work from home

- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities

- hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health.

If you need to travel the Government encourages you to reduce the number of journeys you make, walk or cycle where possible or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed – including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions – for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes.

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You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by Test and Trace.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face masks and advice on car sharing.

Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free. If you do need to travel abroad before December 2 – and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work – even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice and the current travel corridor list.

Can funerals and weddings take place?

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

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Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

Places of worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

- funerals

- to broadcast acts of worship

- individual prayer

- formal childcare or where part of a school

- essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks

- other exempted activities such as some support groups

I’m clinically vulnerable. Do I need to shield again?

If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If you are clinically vulnerable you sbould:

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- be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others

- continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

- aged 60 or over (regardless of medical conditions)

- under 60 with an underlying health condition listed below

- chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or bronchitis

- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

- chronic kidney disease

- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis

- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy

- diabetes

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- a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking

- being seriously overweight (a body mass index of 40 or above)

- pregnant

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Over this period, the Government is advising the CEV to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance. You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise. The full new guidance will be published on November 2 and the Government will write to everybody who is CEV to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place.

What about childcare?

Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities – including wraparound care – where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or for the purposes of respite care.

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Early years settings can remain open. Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under. As above, some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household.

Some youth services may be able to continue, such as one-to-one youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Can I visit my relative in a care home?

Guidance on care home visits will be published ahead of November 5. For now, you should follow existing guidance.

Can my child who’s at university come home during term time?

If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. The Government will publish further guidance on the end of term.

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Will the Premier League continue?

Yes. Elite sport – including the Premier League – can continue because it has put Covid measures in place.

But amateur sport including Saturday leagues will be put on hold for the duration of the four-week lockdown.

Editor’s message

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription at or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.